Should children give up their trick-or-treat candy for the health of their teeth? No! All the avoiding sugary treats is generally a good idea to help prevent plaque buildup and cavities, Halloween candy is perfectly fine as long as proper dental hygiene rules are followed. These tips will help maximize enjoyment of the holiday without compromising your kids’ teeth and oral health.
Do Not Forbid Eating Candy Completely
Have you noticed that the moment you take something away from your kids, they want it more than ever? If you let your kids go trick-or-treating, taking away all the candy would not be fair. They are more likely to eat it in secret and not practice good dental health afterward.
Instead of refusing treats, limit the number of pieces they can eat per day and only allow them at certain times. This still gives them the enjoyment of picking out their favorites for snack or dessert but you can monitor their teeth cleaning afterward.
Stay Away from Very Sticky or Hard Treats
The absolute worst type of candy for teeth includes any that are hard and sticky like lollipops, Jolly Ranchers, or jawbreakers. These types of sweets have three main problems. Their hard structure may chip or crack teeth if your child bites them. The stickiness attaches to the teeth and can either damaged the enamel or cause physical problems. Since hard candy takes a while to dissolve, the sugar and acid stays on the teeth and gums longer and provides more fuel for plaque growth. Gummy candy also has the two latter problems, so be careful when your children eat this type as well.
Enjoy Sweet Treats After a Meal
While snacks and desserts are usually eaten after meals anyway so they do not ruin the appetite for healthy food, this is also a good idea for oral hygiene. Eating lunch or dinner triggers the production of saliva. This can actually help break down sugars in candy so it is metabolized away from the surface of the teeth and gums instead of sticking around longer.
Drink or Swish With Clean Water
Avoid sugary beverages when your children are already consuming a lot of sweet candy. If they are not able to brush and floss their teeth immediately, at least have them swish a few mouthfuls of water to remove some of the residue. This also helps with proper hydration.
Brush and Floss Right Away
By the time they are old enough to trick-or-treat, children should have begun the habit of brushing and flossing their teeth after they eat anything. The youngest may still need help developing good oral hygiene routines. As soon as the candy is finished, make sure they do a thorough cleaning job. This is especially important if they eat a hard, sticky, or gummy candy as mentioned above.
All children should enjoy their sweets as long as you put some ground rules in place. Schedule an appointment at Las Vegas Smile Dental Center to make sure your child’s teeth and gums are the healthiest they can be.